When people think about depression, they most likely think about it as being a human condition. However, what you may not know is that pets can become depressed as well. There are many things that can cause your dog or cat to become depressed including changes in their lives, aging or an underlying pet health condition.
How Depression Affects Your Pet
What depression can do to your pet depends on how severely depressed it is and whether or not there is an underlying medical problem causing the depression. If the depression is caused by a medical problem and the condition is resolved, chances are your pet's depression will disappear. On the other hand, if your pet is depressed due to emotional conditions, it could display a wide array of behaviors. While some dogs and cats become destructive when depressed, others become withdrawn and despondent. Many pets lose their appetites and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. In extreme cases, some pets may even pine away becoming anorexic and unresponsive.
Common Symptoms of Depression
Pet depression is actually quite common and when recognized early, it can be easily treated. As stated above, the behaviors your dog or cat will display if they are depressed may vary depending on their unique personality. However, the following symptoms are the most common signs of depression. Common Symptoms of Depression in Pets: Loss of or Increase in Appetite, Weight Loss or Gain, Anorexia, Loss of Interest in Enjoyable Activities, Destructive Behavior or Withdrawal, Apathy, Sleeping More Often than Usual or Restlessness, Unresponsiveness.
Treatments for Depression
Before your veterinarian begins treatments for your pet's depression, a thorough physical exam will be necessary. This will rule out any underlying medical conditions that could be causing the depression. If a medical problem is found, it will need to be treated first, and in most cases, treating the medical condition will eliminate the depression in your pet. If your pet's depression is due to emotional disturbances, your veterinarian may recommend such things as giving your pet a bit more attention and exercise. Other things that may help include extra praise, new toys and behavior therapy. In severe cases, medication may be necessary such as Clomicalm, Paxil, Zoloft and Prozac.
Both dogs and cats can become depressed, no matter what breed or age they may be. However, there are certain factors that can leave your pet vulnerable to the condition, such as moving into a new home, a new baby, spouse or other pet in the household.
When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.